How to save petunia until next year
My parents’ apartment has two balconies. One belongs to my father: tool boxes, fishing gear and his old but beloved “Ukraine” bicycle are stored there. Well, the second balcony is in the complete and unconditional possession of the mother. There she grows her favorite flowers. Mommy knows how to make violets bloom even in the middle of winter and how to preserve petunia until spring. The last one is actually her favorite!
Large-flowered petunia, or ampelous surfinia, is one of the most popular house flowers in our country. In the warm season, pots of petunias decorate almost every second balcony. And what a pity it is to part with this spectacular plant in the fall. Today I’m sharing my mom’s method of adding life to carnival petunias.
Viva la petunia
In our region, petunia is considered an annual plant. Given this stereotype, most amateur gardeners do not even try to extend the life of a variegated flower. But people who are more in-depth in this know that petunia and all its hanging relatives are perennial plants. A flower growing in a pot on the threshold of a house can be used as a queen cell for further propagation.
And if you are the happy owner of more than one petunia, choose the best bush with flowers characteristic of the variety. In September or early October (this depends on the weather and temperature outside), the petunia needs to be transplanted from a large communal pot into a separate container with a diameter of 15–17 cm. Or simply bring the plant inside the house, if space allows.
How to save petunia until spring
If you thought that everything was so simple, then you relaxed too early. After all, you still have to choose suitable conditions for the petunia mother plant if you want to keep it alive until spring. Check out several care conditions that are followed in flower nurseries:
- Temperature regime. Professional gardeners keep petunias in greenhouses in winter at a temperature of 10–12 °C. As you understand, you will need a fairly cool room (balcony, summer kitchen).
- Uniform watering. During wintering, petunias should be watered moderately, without excess moisture.
- Nutrients. The flower will sometimes need to be fed: approximately once a month with phosphorus and potassium fertilizers.
- Life-giving light. It is important to provide petunias with additional lighting in winter. Then the flower will need more frequent feeding (once every 10 days). It is recommended to alternate potash fertilizers with a complete complex fertilizer.
Congratulations, you have a cutting!
Typically, cuttings of petunia begin in February. However, if you gave the flower enough light and fed it generously, you can take cuttings all winter as the shoots grow. Plant the cuttings as soon as they are separated, because after a couple of hours they may not take root at all.
Take the mother plant and find an apical stalk 5–6 cm long with 4–6 leaves. Carefully cut it off. Remove the lower leaves, leaving only the top couple. Cut them in half. The perfect cutting is ready!
Soil for petunias
Loose, fertile soil is usually used for planting petunia cuttings. It is sprinkled on top with a layer of clean sand or perlite about 2 cm high. The cuttings themselves need to be planted in the ground to a depth of approximately 2 cm.
It is recommended to treat the soil for planting with fungicides. These are biological preparations “Alirin-B”, “Gamair” or a weak solution of potassium permanganate. This manipulation is necessary to prevent plant diseases.
Plant petunia cuttings at least 2 cm apart. Cover the container with a glass cover or film. Place it in a sunny place with a temperature of 20–24°.
Caring for petunia cuttings
In fact, petunia takes root well even without special means. However, to be on the safe side, treat the cuttings with any available growth stimulant. Also, the planted cuttings need to be sprayed with water a couple of times a day, watered once a day, without flooding them.
Be sure to reduce watering if you notice signs of mold on the surface of the soil or fungal diseases appear on the cuttings. In this case, also ventilate the plants and remove diseased cuttings.
In normal conditions, rooting of petunia cuttings takes up to 2 weeks. It also depends on the type of petunia.
Transplanting petunia cuttings
As soon as roots more than 1.5 cm long are formed, transplant the cuttings into separate pots with a diameter of 5 cm. To get bushy flowers, have time to pinch the seedlings above the 4-5th leaf. Sometimes petunia is pinched again to avoid the appearance of long, overgrown shoots.
Transplant the rooted cuttings into larger pots (from 13 cm) after about a month and a half. It is important to feed petunia with complete mineral fertilizer once a week during this period. Caring housewives return the flower to the balcony around the beginning of April. The most comfortable time for petunia.
This is how you should care for your green pet in order to preserve your petunia until next year. How do you take care of your favorite flowers? Share proven methods and folk remedies in the comments!